Wednesday, November 13, 2013
I saw something recently about the economy and how employers are complaining about a lack of qualified candidates — namely in written and verbal communication skills.
I can’t say I’m surprised.
The blame for job-seekers who couldn’t communicate well — let alone write a coherent sentence — was sprayed every direction possible.
All the usual suspects got blasted: public education, social media and rap music.
I know from going through standardized test scores, most of the schools in North-Central Washington fell short of their statewide counterparts.
But more often than not, it was in the math and science realm where area schools didn’t make the grade.
Generally, schools in Okanogan and Ferry counties were at or above the state average in reading and writing scores.
Other scapegoats included technology and video games, television, college curriculum, a heavy focus globally on math and science, a lazy generation and increasingly poor health habits. It seemed there was no shortage of reasons or excuses for our nation’s deplorable poor writing habits.
I’m not particularly concerned about the exact root of this evil.
What does concern me is the possibility — or even the likelihood — that people simply don’t care.
Proper grammar, correct punctuation, even basic spelling are all thrown out the window. And it’s not for lack of writing. I would venture to guess the average person today does far more writing than even the most prolific wordsmiths of decades past. Facebook, Twitter, text messaging and email are all forms of written communication that people send out in mind-blowing quantities.
Each day on Facebook, more than 55 million status updates are made.
Twitter users fire off an astounding 400 million Tweets per day worldwide — a number that has basically doubled in the past two years.
Let’s face it: Proper use of an apostrophe just isn’t that sexy.
As an English major, I find myself subconsciously making corrections anytime I see a misused word or a badly run-on sentence. However, reading about employers that were struggling to find qualified candidates from a communications standpoint made me look at these rampant mistakes from a different angle.
It’s not just about being nit-picky.
Low standards in writing could be eventually be a career backbreaker.
Maybe if that becomes more widely publicized, people will reverse the “who cares” trend toward writing.
Garrett Rudolph is the managing editor of The Chronicle. He can be reached at 509-826-1110 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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